Last December I entered a contest organized by Perugina, an Italian confectionery company famous for its Baci chocolate kisses who were looking for recipes which included Perugina products in their ingredient list. I played around with various options, finally settling on a 3 tiered concoction consisting of a flourless chocolate cake base, 2 layers of creamy truffle filling and delicately sliced Perugina white chocolate Bacis. A few days after submitting my entry, I received a phone call from a company representative telling me I had won the Grand Prize - a trip to New York for two, the chance to attend a class by a master chocolatier at Perugina's chocolate school and $500 spending money!
Our Big Apple adventure took place this weekend and it was wonderful. My husband and I flew into New York early Friday morning and arrived at our hotel in mid-Manhattan around noon. Staff greeted us by presenting us with a basket of assorted Perugina products - a great way to begin our weekend. The weather in New York was considerably colder than in Texas with the temperature hovering around 26 Fahrenheit. While we once considered ourselves tough, surviving long Canadian winters year after year, it appears we have become soft since moving to Texas. We were freezing! We kept ourselves warm by visiting some of the cute little stores and restaurants in Greenwich Village, spent some time in the New York City Fire Museum in the Hudson Square district then passed by the apartment where Monica Geller from 'Friends' lived.
On Saturday we showed up bright and early for our chocolate class and were blown away by the size of Eataly, the mega Italian food destination where the class took place. Surrounded by restaurants and stores selling authentic Italian beers, prosciutto and salami, I felt we had taken a wrong turn and somehow landed in a bustling Italian market place. We began our class by sampling different types of chocolate, starting with white (which technically speaking isn't actually chocolate) then milk and finally dark which was approximately 80 % cocoa. We also sampled Perugina's special Limoncello chocolate which was incredible. Our chocolatier gave a demonstration of tempering chocolate and explained that in addition to traditional dark, milk and white chocolate there exists a 4th type of chocolate often used in European sweets - gianduia - a soft creamy product made from chocolate and hazelnut paste. He distributed mounds of gianduia to each participant instructing us how to top these with a hazelnut then delicately dip them in the tempered chocolate to form our Bacis. While waiting for the chocolate to dry we created a tasty Perugina style Tiramisu, followed by a ganache-filled chocolate crostata - delizioso! Needless to say our diets will begin next week.
I can't thank Perugina enough for this wonderful weekend and would thoroughly recommend the class to any chocolate lovers interested in a unique culinary experience.
Here's a link to my cake recipe - http://new.perugina.com/baci-double-truffle-chocolate-cake/
Nibbles and Fluff